(Bloomberg) -- Burundi opposition party the National Congress for Liberty said more than 20 of its offices across the country have been vandalized since March, when it was allowed to operate legally.
Those that destroyed its property went unpunished or were arrested and later freed without charges, party spokesman Terence Manirambona told reporters on Wednesday.
President Pierre Nkurunziza is now expected to step down at elections in 2020, having initially intended to stand for re-election in a move that led to European Union sanctions and sparked a crisis in which as many as 1,200 people were killed, according to rights groups.
“Our members are being assassinated, some are mutilated. There are cases of those who have lost fingers, others lost their teeth during attacks by youth from the ruling party,” Manirambona said.
The government is narrowing the political space for CNL, as the party led by former militia leader Agathon Rwasa is known, according to Manirambona. Rwasa is currently vice president of the National Assembly after agreeing to a ceasefire in 2008.
While there is some tensions between party youth in the northern and western regions, the situation is not as dire as some would like to paint it, Security Ministry spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye told the national broadcaster.
About 60 people have been arrested in the past few days, some for attacks on homes belonging to ruling party members and others for destroying opposition offices, according to Nkurikiye.
The ruling party’s secretary general for the capital, Benjamin Ndagijimana, asked politicians from the respective parties on Wednesday to speak with members in rural areas to quell the violence.
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